Physical Inactivity in the United States

Being physically inactive is responsible for one in 10 deaths among U.S. adults.1 Eighty percent of American adults do not meet the government's physical activity recommendations for aerobic and muscle strengthening.2 Sixty percent of adults are not sufficiently active to achieve health benefits.3 There are also health risks to being sedentary (physically inactive), including increased risk of mortality and metabolic syndrome.4 Sedentary adults pay $1,500 more per year in healthcare costs than physically active adults.5 Studies have also found the more sedentary the mother, the more sedentary the child, and the more physically active the mother, the more physically active the child early in life.6 Reports of physical inactivity rates among adults are based on the number of survey respondents who said that they did not engage in any physical activity or exercise during the previous 30 days other than doing their regular jobs. Mississippi had the highest reported percentage of inactivity among adults at 31.6 percent.

Physical Inactivity by State,

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Percent of adults who are physically inactive

Physical inactivity among adults,


1 Danaei G, Ding EL, Mozaffarian D, et al. The Preventable Causes of Death in the United States: Comparative Risk Assessment of Dietary, Lifestyle, and Metabolic Risk Factors. PLoS Med 6(4): e1000058. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000058, 2009.

2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (2013). One in Five Adults Meet Overall Physical Activity Guidelines. [Press Release]. (accessed June 2013).

3 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity. Promoting Physical Activity: A Guide for Community Action. Vol. 1. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 1999.

4 Rezende LF, Rey-LoĢpez JP, Matsudo VK, Luiz OD. Sedentary behavior and health outcomes among older adults: a systematic review. BMC Public Health, 14(1):333, 2014.

5 Anderson LH, Martinson BC, Crain AL, et al. Healthcare Charges Associated with Physical Inactivity, Overweight, and Obesity. Preventing Chronic Disease, 2(4):A09, 2005.

6 Hesketh KR, et al. Activity levels in mothers and their preschool children. Pediatrics, 133(4):e973-80, 2014.